The Peyton Manning Sweepstakes- Most Likely Landing Spots for Manning
Byron Lambert, Rosterwatch.com
Recently, Indianapolis Star Reporter and Colts insider Bob Kravitz labeled Peyton Manning’s arm a “noodle”. Ouch! Hopefully its only his arm. Not good news for a guy who wants to throw footballs in the NFL again. If Peyton does make it back on the field the question becomes for which team?
About half of the league has pretty crappy QB play (I know, marginal would be a better way to say it-but that’s really how I feel). Pretty much any team that has an “unsettled” QB situation has to consider making a play for Manning. The caveat is Peyton will also have a lot of input on his final destination.
These are the odds of your favorite team landing Peyton Manning as I currently see it:
Buffalo Bills – 1%
The rest of the AFC East will be in the race. Why not the Bills? Might as well drive the price up for Miami and New York. Its always fun thinking about Manning and Brady playing in the same division. The Bills have a decent team and Buffalo loves the “no huddle”. Ralph Wilson does have a history, making waves by landing Terrell Owens a few years ago. There is the whole hang up with the Ryan Fitzpatrick contract but the Bills do have a ton of cap room. Doesn’t seem like a great fit for Manning personally.
Houston Texans – 2%
I think Houston is happy with their current situation and rightfully so. It would be such a GOOD fit though! Schaub’s health is still up in the air and you have to believe after battling Manning within the division all of these years that Texans management has immense respect for Peyton. Not a bad way to remove the “thorn” in your side.
Dallas Cowboys – 2%
There is always more than a 1% chance when it comes to Jerry Jones. The Cowboys seem pretty set with Romo but there is the widespread belief they are that “one player away”.
Denver Broncos – 2%
In a weak division with that defense Denver would be a nice fit. Feels like a destination Manning would enjoy. I’m sure it will cross Elway’s mind. Is it possible to overcome Tebow-Mania though?
Cleveland – 2%
I’m not sure Manning would be very interested but Mike Holmgren certainly might be. The only team in a tough division without legitimate QB play. Does the whole “west coast offense” thing matter?
Baltimore Ravens – 3%
The Ravens may be the poster child for the “one player away” idea. Ray Lewis is on borrowed time. As much as he says he loves Flacco how could Lewis not support bringing Manning in? Heck, he might even push for it. There is a brewing contract situation with Flacco.
Jacksonville Jaguars – 4%
Doesn’t sound like a likely destination but the Jags are far from settled at QB and have plenty of familiarity with Manning. I’m not sure how much that familiarity would play in to Manning’s decision. Does the big new Mustache in town want to make a big splash? I think Peyton would go to Houston to win but would he go to Jacksonville to crack Indy upside the head twice a year? A La Brett Favre?
Seattle Seahawks – 5%
They went after Tarvaris Jackson last year and also signed Charlie Whitehurst to a big deal. But still? Feels very Pete Carrollish. He already has a decent defense. Even with the 49ers emergence this is still a weak division that would offer Manning playoff opportunities.
Kansas City Chiefs – 5%
Feels like a sleeper destination that you won’t hear anyone talk about. A relatively talented roster with plenty of offensive weapons. Also in a weak division. Great football town and this wouldn’t be a first, there was a guy named Joe Montana.
Miami Dolphins – 6%
The Dolphins will probably be pretty avid in their pursuit of Manning. They should be, they would be pretty good with him. I just don’t see it. I don’t think Peyton will have any interest in playing with Brandon Marshall. Manning is the king of stability and the Dolphins franchise has been anything but since owner Stephen Ross took over.
Arizona Cardinals – 8%
The fact that they signed Kevin Kolb to a big contract last year could be a deal breaker. Larry Fitzgerald and Ken Whisenhunt have to be very interested. The weak division theory is also in play. #11 at WR and that dry heat would do wonders for his neck. Peyton would have to be very interested as well.
San Francisco 49ers – 8%
I love this move the most. The Niners are the best fit. All the pieces are there and they could be scary good. I’m afraid last year’s results will obligate them to another year of Alex Smith.
Washington Redskins – 11%
Dan Snyder! Being in the same division with Eli would be downright nutty!
New York Jets – 13%
Good fit that would instantly make the Jets much more legitimate Super Bowl contenders. The Tom Brady factor. They did it with Favre. Is New York even big enough for two Mannings? This would be an absolute riot.
Indianapolis Colts – 19%
The circumstances indicate Manning probably won’t be back in Indy next year but I still think the Colts are the front runners. Peyton Manning staying in Indy puts my mind at ease. He belongs there and has maintained all along he wants to retire there. The Colts have already paid him a boatload of money. There has been some strife that would have to be put to bed. If Peyton truly is willing to re-do his deal and if all other things were equal I would put this at closer to 50%. The difference? I think some team will be willing to offer Manning a multi-year deal, possibly even three years. The Colts are going to want to keep this contract short and Peyton will likely pass on the opportunity to rebuild.
*Retirement – 9%
When your arm is still a “noodle” after a full year off this is a real possibility. Manning is tenacious and his competitive spirit should drive him to play but I don’t think he will be willing to embarrass himself if he knows he can’t do it. The Jets or Redskins will probably make sure this doesn’t happen.